News | March 06, 2013

By Slav Kornik, Global NewsEdmonton - Alberta's official opposition is offering one-day, $1-contracts to four groups in an effort to allow them to participate in Thursday's pre-budget briefing lockup.Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has extended the invitation to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, Public Interest Alberta, the Fraser Institute and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.The premier's office has said the opposition is only allowed to bring employees to the lockup, not guests."Quite simply, this government is attempting to stifle open and honest criticism of their budget by shutting these groups out. We believe they should be brought into the process of analyzing this very important budget, not left out in the cold," says Smith in a statement.According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, it's the first time its been banned from the budget lockup in 20 years."We're gonna find a way in. If I have to climb in a window, tunnel through the basement or go in with an opposition party, we're going to find a way to get into the budget lockup," said Canadian Taxpayers Federation Alberta Director, Derek Fildebrandt."The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has had lots of access directly to the minister of finance with respect to the budget, made presentations to him, also were part of the Alberta Economic Summit. There's lots of different opportunity for dialogue with respect to the budget," says Premier Alison Redford.Smith says the four groups bring important perspectives to dissecting and analyzing the budget."The Premier is constantly accusing Wildrose of being ideological, but it is her government that is standing in the way of openness and transparency. These are credible groups who have a legitimate interest in being ready and able to speak to the budget," says Smith.By Slav Kornik, Global NewsThis article was published by Global News on March 6, 2013. Read more on the Global News website.

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